500 foreign language centers in HCMC unlicensed: education department

By Manh Tung   January 12, 2021 | 04:00 am PT
500 foreign language centers in HCMC unlicensed: education department
An English-teaching center in HCMC's District 1 has been closed down since late 2020. Photo courtesy of Phap Luat TPHCM Newspaper.
Nearly 500 foreign language centers in southern metropolis Ho Chi Minh City are either unlicensed or hold expired licenses, the municipal education department said Monday.

Specifically, 253 have not been licensed to operate, while 241 have let their licenses expire, according to the HCMC Department of Education and Training. Many centers teach both foreign languages (mostly English) and computer skills, it was added.

Violating centers must either get a license or renew them before March 1, the department stressed.

Violations were revealed following an order from the municipal People's Council in September last year to screen all centers in the city, where several English-teaching facilities had reportedly collected tuition fees, before abruptly closing down.

Foreign language and computer skill teaching centers must be licensed to operate, providing they have enough teachers, employees, teaching materials and equipment for intended educational purposes, according to a 2018 government decree.

In Vietnam, English is a compulsory subject from 3rd grade onward. Students in public schools are mostly taught using the traditional methods of grammar exercises and vocabulary cramming.

The country was ranked in the low-proficiency category in both 2019 and 2020 editions of the EF English Proficiency Index, released by Swiss Education First (EF), a global language training company.

In Vietnam's latest national high school exams, the average English score was also the lowest among the nine tested subjects.

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